Northern Lights: Canadian National Conservatory of Music
Stella Claire terHart is a well known Canadian composer, educator, adjudicator and accompanist. She is directly descended from the Italian composer, Tomaso Vitali and has many other musical family members and ancestors. Stella is the only individual in Canada to have been awarded all four available diplomas from the Toronto Conservatory of Music: piano pedagogy, piano performance, composition, and theory.
Stella was born and raised in the small rural prairie town of Estevan, Saskatchewan. Stella’s mother, Sophia Maria ter Hart-Vittali, worked tirelessly to bring arts and culture to Estevan, helping establish the very first Music Festival as well as the Estevan Arts Council. Stella will never forget travelling three hours on a bus with her mother and other music lovers from Estevan to hear a performance of Swan Lake in Regina, performed by the Regina Symphony and the Winnipeg Ballet. It was the first time she had ever heard an oboe – it was the most beautiful music she had ever heard at her tender age of 13!
Another memorable yet terrifying Estevan moment was being the accompanist’s page turner for a young, relatively unknown singer named Maureen Forrester who presented a concert at a “Stars for Saskatchewan” evening at the Estevan High School. It seems that Stella has been page turning and accompanying ever since! A second generation Canadian, Stella is poignantly inspired by her rich European background which includes French Huguenot ancestors on her father’s side fleeing to the Netherlands in the 15th century to avoid persecution and the loss of her maternal grandmother’s entire Jewish family (over 1200 relatives) in World War 2 concentration camps, among them her 79 year old great grandfather, and a little 7 year old girl, also named Stella.